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#1 Search 'til You're Blue!
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#3 Get to Europe First

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Strategy #3- Get to Europe and then to Athens

One of the better strategies to getting to Greece inexpensively(or maybe I should say less expensively) is to get a flight to Europe first and then continue on to Greece.

As with most of the strategies, you need to be diligent in your searches since there are many sites out there and not all of them are easy to find. As outlined in Strategy #2 you'll want to search the ads on the side of the page as well as the search engines on my Fare Finder page.

I would run a combination of searches starting from the major US cities to major European cities(historically the lowest fares are to London and Paris and some of the larger German cities- Munich and Franfurt). You can also try Rome which is usually a little more expensive, but it's less expensive to get to Greece(especially if you take the train to Brendisi and then the ferry to Corfu or Patras!). Once you find an good fare to a European city, then try the searches from your closest airport and see if you can get a good fare from there. If you can, then Great!-You're halfway there.

If you can't find a low fare from your closest city then you'll have to find a way to get to the city with the best fare(Strategy #2). Once you've found a way to do that, then you can work on the itinerary on the other side of the ocean.

DO NOT purchase any parts of the journey until you have all the pieces in place! Find something you can hold for 24 hours or more and then get the rest of the pieces before you purchase all legs.

I can't tell you the number of people who have purchased inexpensive flights to Europe to save money and have asked me to find them something inexpensive to Greece- only to find that there weren't any good fares from that city. In the end their money saving tickets ending up costing them more(and were less convenient) then if they'd purchased the tickets as one unit all the way Greece!

At this point I'll assume that you've got your US flights set and you have an itinerary to Europe. Once in Europe there are a few options- commercial flights, charter flights, rail or ferry. The options are different in every country you go to.

England has some great charters and you can get flight with a plane full of happy-go-lucky Brits on their way to a Fun in the Sun vacation(where most couldn't care less if it was Greece, Albania, Iraq or China-as long as there is sun, beer and Fish and Chips!).

If you get to England, I've posted some search engines that can help you with flights but make sure that they will be able to deliver your tickets to a US address(or if you have a UK contact they can hold them for you!) If you go to my discount air page(Some great options come up on ads on the sides of the page!) you can run a few searches for flights from England or scroll down to the list of the smaller European Airlines and go to their individual pages. You can also run a search through the US based search engines at my Fare Finder page.

I would also try the Eurail system which takes a little more time but you could work your way to Greece slowly stopping along the way or just continue in one shot to get there as quickly as you can. Quite a few years ago I took the train from Athens to Vienna with a friend and had a great time, meeting people and seeing countryside that you would never see if you fly!

One year I bought an Airhitch ticket to Rome(for $169 one way including taxes!) and had to figure out how to get to Greece. I was on a tight budget so I took the train to Brindisi and the boat to Patras. It's been a long time now so I can't remember the exact fare I paid, but it was very inexpensive(I traveled in July) but I'm pretty sure that the whole trip cost less than $250!

As with all your travel arrangements, if you are combining flights(or other modes of transportation), be sure to schedule a lot of time between connections. Keep in mind that a mid-July thunderstorm in New York could delay a take off for 3-4 hours, and if you arrive late at your destination you could be backed up in the air and asked to circle until there is an opening for you to land. So a 3-5 hour delay in getting to your European city is a definite possibility!

Another option is to spend some time in the European country. It may end up costing more in the long run as you'll have to pay for hotels and food(which you would pay for in Greece anyway), but that cost is relatively small compared to what it would cost to fly to that city another time!

This should give you a pretty good idea of the options and how to find them. Let me know if I can help you with anything else....

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